A mad scientist-like inventor with a house full of cats and a desire to become the next rock legend – that’s Emily in a nutshell. Issue #1 focused on her developing musical talents, and, though she held her own solo, she’s about to face a new challenge: forming a band.
This is a great all-ages comic with a simple premise, timeless problems, and a great execution. The issue starts off with a well-done recap of Issue #1, which are actually some of my favorite pages for the manner in which it catches up new readers. If recaps managed to be this simple, fun, and interesting to look at all the time, I’d want them in a lot of other books.
Emily and the Strangers is full of offbeat characters with Emily being the most eccentric of the bunch. Her use of made-up swears like “drapples” and “huckbats” is charming, and her many inventions draw the eye. To Emily, everything in the world can be improved upon. All the items she uses wind up with more knickknacks thrown on or some overly complex manner in which to improve its quality. Even a cup of coffee becomes drastically more complicated in Emily’s hands. Her bandmates each distinguish themselves from the others in some tight storytelling to make them so individual in a single issue’s time, though their differences prove to be a nice source of tension for the issue with Emily at its heart. There’s a great moral lesson to be learned from Emily and the Strangers about both individuality and cooperation. While a fun character, there are times when I wanted to yell at Emily for being unrelentingly stubborn, but her many flaws are what drive the story.
The book looks great. Its simple art style frequently has detailed items and background elements added, whether that’s Professa Kraken’s guitar, one of Emily’s inventions, or her many cats. Artists have had to depict sound a lot of ways over the years and while Emily and the Strangers may not be treading new territory, its visual representations for sound are delightful with simple but symbolic elements to distinguish the different kinds of music: hard rock, classical, smooth jazz, etc.
A great premise, art style, and execution, I can’t think of any way this story could be told better, but I’m sure if you gave Emily a zorking minute, she’d find a way to slap on a few extra knickknacks to add to the comic reading experience. Whether it’s the quality of her band or a great second issue, there’s just no pleasing that girl.